What Penalties Can You Get for DWI and Having Underage Passengers in Your Vehicle?

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The penalties for DWI in Texas are serious, and depending on the severity of the crime, can result in fines or even jail time.

In  Texas, it is illegal to drive a vehicle in a public space while under the influence. Being intoxicated means that you do not have control over yourself.

A person under the influence is considered everyone who has alcohol, illegal and prescription drugs, or other substances in their body. Having an alcohol concentration of .08 will bring you DWI charges. The police officer who stopped you can arrest and charge you with DWI. Even if you were not driving, but you were in your parked vehicle, you can still get a DWI charge even if the car is not moving.

If you are intoxicated and there is a child or an underage passenger in your vehicle, you will face severe penalties for DWI.

If you were involved in such a case, make sure you contact your DWI defense attorney in Texas as soon as possible.

Here is what you can expect if you were driving under the influence while having a child in your car.

DWI with a Child Passenger in Texas

You are committing a crime if you drive your car while intoxicated (alcohol or drugs), and you have a passenger who is younger than fifteen years of age. The statute limits the underage provision to fifteen, rather than the usual age of minority, which is under the age of eighteen.

If your breath or blood concentration is .08 or higher, you will be considered intoxicated. 

What are the Penalties for DWI with a Child Passenger?

If you are convicted of DWI with a child passenger, you will face a state jail felony.  Penalties for such offense include a fine of up to $10,000.00, including jail time from 180 days up to two years. You can expect to have your driver’s license suspended for up to 180 days. You will probably need to pay a ‘surcharge fee’ between $1,000.00 and $2,000.00 for three years. These penalties can apply even if this is your first criminal offense.

If you have prior felony convictions (DWI or something else), this will result in a more severe penalty. If you cause an accident or injure another party, you will face a driver’s conduct; this is another consideration the court will make when determining sentences.

 If you do not have any criminal record, and your BAC test shows slight intoxication, you can get probation. It will include strict terms of probation, such as installing an ignition interlock device and attending an alcohol education course.

Potential Effects of a Conviction for DWI with a Child Passenger in Texas

If you are arrested for DWI with a child passenger in Texas, besides probation, jail time, and high fines, several collateral consequences can come about as a result.

You might also be charged with child endangerment. A person is guilty of child endangerment if they intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omissions, engaged in conduct which places a child under the age of fifteen in danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.

Loss of Driving License

If you refuse to take a breath or blood test when the officer stops you, you risk losing your driving license.

You will get a notice of suspension of your driving license in response. You can request a hearing fifteen days of the release of the notice. The court will decide whether your license will be suspended or not.

If you fail to request a hearing, your license will be automatically suspended.

Penalties for DWI with a Child Passenger

If you are convicted of a DWI with a child passenger in Texas, you will face the consequences such as loss of individual constitutional rights, including the right to bar arms, serve on a jury and vote.

Losing these rights could affect your career as well (primarily if you work in the military; by losing the right to bear arms, you will no longer be able to do your job).

If you were arrested for driving under the influence and had a child in your vehicle, you would need a skilled lawyer who will help you with your defense.

Such cases are severe and may affect your life for good.

Call our Texas criminal defense law office today and let our team of DWI attorneys answer your questions.

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